> TEOTWAWKI Blog: The Walking Dead - The Suicide King



The Walking Dead - The Suicide King

The Walking Dead returns tonight, with Daryl and Merle being pushed into mortal combat while the angry citizens and the now even crazier Governor watch on. Here's the TV guide description:

Rick tries to save one of his group; Woodbury is in disarray; new guests at the prison raise concerns.

Rick & Co. are going back into the fire to pull Daryl out, and I'm going to guess that crazy big brother Merle gets brought along for the ride!

I'll be updating as the episode progresses!

And we're starting!

Spoilers after the jump!

The people of Woodbury seem to be solidly behind Merle. The Governor asks Merle to prove his loyalty in a fight to the death.

Andrea is pleading with the Governor to stop. Merle doesn't take much time to start in on the beat down. Zombies are brought it.

Merel tells Daryl to follow his lead - they're getting out! But fists vs. zombies don't work so well!

And Maggie opens up with the sniper rifle! Yehhaw! The rescue has begun.

Team Rick doesn't much time chucking smoke grenades into the fray, and with the zombies now running wild, Woodbury is able to mount much of an offense. Daryl and Merle run for it, but not before Daryl steals back his trademark crossbow.

The good guys retreat into the night, the rescue mission a success - and one eyed Governor is not happy.

And we're back, with the good guys at the wall of Woodbury. Merle is coming along - Rick objects, but they don't have time to take this to a committee. A walker finds a hole in the Woodbury fence - looks like the evening for the townspeople is only going to get worse.

Glenn and Michonne are waiting at the awkwardly product placed Hyundai - guess they were not allowed to come along for the rescue mission. Glenn sees that they brought Merle, guns and swords are drawn and there's a brief standoff. Tempers calm, and Merle isn't doing much to win over the group. Rick gets tired of his jibber-jabber and pistol whips him for good measure.

Back and the prison, Herschel is stitching up one of Tyrese's group. The discussion turns to the baby, and then Tyrese starts talking about his "survivalist nut" neighbor - turns out he wasn't so cray, and his bunker saved Tyrese's life. See! It pays to be a survivalist nut.

"I must be the first brother in history to break into prison!"

Herschel warns Tyrese not to get too comfortable - they might have to move along when the rest of the group gets back.

Back with Team Rick, they're debating about the fate of Merle...and Michonne. Daryl lays down the ultimatum - "No him, no me!" And he starts to walk off, mind made up. Rick, Maggie and Glenn don't cave, but neither does Daryl. He grabs his stuff and he and Merle walk off on their own. Yep, that really just happened. The Dixon brothers are on their own...I can see an awesome spin off series where they become zombie hunters for hire or some such.

Team Rick, now short Daryl, packs up in their Hyundai (really?) and heads back to the prison - but not before Rick warns Michonne that she will be patched up and then sent packing. Michonne should probably just explain that she went to go kill the Governor, but it's a TV show and they've gotta have drama.

At the prison, Team Tyrese is heading out to bury their dead. Husband of the deceased comes up with a plan to take back the prison - attack Carol and Carl - who he dismisses as a little kid and a woman. Clearly, he hasn't been watching. Tyrese tries to walk some sense into him.

Team Rick stops to clear a truck out of the way, and a zombie jumps at Glenn - he goes nuts curb stomping the walker in the grossest moment of the evening. Glenn is mad that Rick didn't take care of the Governor during the rescue attempt.

In Woodbury, Andrea emerges from the sick bay and we find Woodbury in chaos. The people of Woodbury have packed up their belongings. The wall guards aren't hearing any of it. Andrea tries to pull things together, until there are screams from within Woodbury - there are walkers munching on one of the citizens. Andrea and Martinez rush to the rescue and take out the walkers, but they've munched on at least one guy, leaving him half dead on the streets of Woodbury. The Governor emerges to put the guy out of his misery, and then heads back to hiding without a word to the horrified townspeople.

Back at the prison, Carl and Carol are having a little heart to heart, Carol reminiscing about noise and jumbo jets. Team Rick rides back into prison. Carol is understandably shocked that Daryl left with Merle. I'm pretty sure Daryl will be back in an episode or two, but Carol doesn't know that.

The Governor is gearing up for war. Andrea presses him for why Daryl was a prisoner - he confesses that he had Glenn and Maggie prisoner. Why didn't he tell her? "You're just a visitor here, just passing through."

Andrea holds a little pep rally for the citizens of Woodbury and talks them off the ledge, restoring a bit of sanity to the town.

A couple good character moments for Team Rick at the prison. Carol and Hershel's blond daughter talking about why Daryl left - Carol seems to be ok, says that Daryl's cool guy/warrior/redneck code is why he did it. Then Hershel talks to Glenn and then Maggie, who are both still shell shocked from their stay at Woodbury.

The episode closes out with a meeting between Team Rick and Team Tyrese, where Rick's deciding whether they should stay or go. Initially, Rick tells them that they can't stay - Hershel pulls him aside to try to talk some sense into him. "You've got to start trusting people again!" But then Rick starts to hallucinate and see ghost Lori in the shadows of the prison. He freaks out, draws his Colt Python and starts to wave it around. Tyrese and company get the message and bug out - and the episode closes with Rick calming down, the group staring at him and everyone wondering if he's sane enough to lead anymore. He's clearly not doing so well.

A bit of a slower, set-up episode than I was expecting. But, we've got a bunch of interesting storylines set up for the rest of the season - the big Woodbury vs. the Prison, Rick's sanity, the Dixon brothers on the road, the fate of Team Tyrese, whether Michonne will be able to stay, the fate of Glenn and Maggie's relationship and more.

Apocalypse Survival Learnings:
A few survival reminders to extrapolate:
  • Don't ask people to choose a group over their family - they'll probably choose their family, even if they are dirt bag psychos. So, if you've got a group of survivors together, you can't ignore the immediate and extended family of those survivors - if they show up post-TEOTWAWKI, turning those family members away will cause a significant rift in the group.
  • Sometimes you've gotta trust other people - Team Rick is really low on fighters and they've got a small army heading their way. If they're going to stand and fight, they need Team Tyrese to help. Of course, don't blindly trust everyone - you've gotta watch your back and verify - but your immediate group may not be able to do everything.
  • Trauma and death have a severe psychological effect on people - and a group needs spiritual/emotional strength as much as food and water. We saw Woodbury near the breaking point, Rick's group in near shambles, etc. Having people who can act as counselor, adviser and spiritual leader (Hershel) is much needed and often overlooked.
So, what did you think of the episode? What decisions would you have made differently? Any predictions for how different plot lines will evolve over the remainder of the season - what's going to happen with Merle and Daryl, Andrea and the Governor, etc.